Lancashire Sight Loss Council: Meet the members

Meet the Staff

headshot of Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for the north west. Kelly is standing against a white wall and smiling at the camera. Her hair is pulled back into a pony tail. She is wearing a black top with red and white flowers on it.

Kelly Barton

Kelly is the Engagement Manager for the North West of England. She looks after Sight Loss Councils (SLC) in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Lancashire.

Kelly has been severely sight impaired since birth and is registered blind. She wants to ensure that SLC members have the opportunity to be the voice of change for other blind and partially sighted people by getting involved in local projects.

Prior to her work in the sight loss sector, Kelly’s early career was in journalism, PR, and marketing.

Outside of work, Kelly loves to spend time with her family. Sport is a big part of Kelly’s life. She is a keen runner and cyclist – often out and about on her bright pink tandem. Recently, Kelly joined the UK’s first blind baseball team.

David Parfett, SLC coordinator for the North West. He is standing against a wall, smiling at the camera.

David Parfett

David is the Sight Loss Council Coordinator for the North West of England.

He was born with Congenital Nystagmus and grew up in the Derbyshire countryside before transitioning to The Royal College for the Blind in Hereford. Following this David moved to Liverpool to study Disability Studies in Education at Liverpool Hope University.

Growing up with sight loss and having lived experience both within mainstream and specialist educational settings, gave David the drive and passion to advocate for equal opportunities and increase societies understanding of sight loss.

After completing his degree, David moved to Liverpool. For those football supporters, his preferred colour is red!

David was previously a member of Merseyside Sight Loss Council, and worked as the Sports and Physical Activities Coordinator at Bradbury Fields – a local sight loss charity.

David is passionate about sports and getting more people involved. His main sports are Blind Baseball, Cricket, and Goalball. David became a Silver Medallist for Great Britain at the Inaugural Blind Baseball World Cup in 2022.

Meet the Members

Photo of Micahel Parkinson, Lancashire SLC member. Michael is outside, wearing a khaki life jacket over a blue coat. He is wearing a khaki cap and black sunglasses.

Michael Parkinson

Michael has had various problems with his eyes since his early 20’s. This resulted in numerous operations and being registered as sight impaired.

Michael retired from a career in local government, where he worked in property development and maintenance, and latterly in procurement.
He likes to keep active, regularly taking part in sports and weekly, organised walks. He is particularly keen on sailing.

Michael says: “I feel that it is important that people who are visually impaired are given an opportunity to address and influence the issues that create challenges on a daily basis.

“Services should be accessible and inclusive. I hope that the work of Lancashire Sight Loss Council will enable, encourage, and support people experiencing sight loss.”

Photo of Lloyd Sakr, Lancashire SLC member. Lloyd is sitting behind ropes on a sail boat, wearing a blue jacket.

Lloyd Sakr

Lloyd is 20 years old. He was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and Nystagmus at birth and has been vision impaired all his life.

Lloyd is currently studying for a degree in event management. After he graduates, he hopes to work within the sight loss sector.

In his spare time, Lloyd is a keen sailor and enjoys going on walks and playing VI Tennis. He also enjoys taking part in water sports when the opportunity arises. Lloyd is involved with a variety of other voluntary roles at his university.

He says: “I am excited to be part of Lancashire Sight Loss Council and look forward to making a difference for other vision impaired people in the area.”

Headshot of Mohammed Salim Patel, Lancashire SLC member. He is standing against a cream wall, looking at the camera.

Mohammed Salim Patel

Mohammed Salim is registered blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa and a few other eye conditions. Mohammed Salim works for BBC North West Tonight news as a planning producer and reporter. He is known as ‘The Blind Journalist’ online.

His hobbies include scuba diving, rollercoasters, boxing and travelling. Mohammed Salim likes to keep active and enjoys playing tennis and goalball.

Mohammed Salim says: “I wanted to get involved with Lancashire Sight Loss Council as I have seen some of the great work that the other sight loss councils do. I am a Lancashire lad, and I want to bring positive change and improvements across our region too.

“I have managed to get some blind sports up and running, but it has been difficult to establish these in Blackburn, where I live. I know more can been done to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people, across Lancashire.”

Headshot of Lynne Rennison, Lancashire SLC member. Lynne is sitting outside, wearing dark sunglasses. She is holding her white cane up in her hand.

Lynne Rennison

Lynne lives in Lancashire. She was born prematurely, as a twin, with Retinopathy of Prematurity/
Lynne is a white cane user and has many interests such as gardening, going to the theatre and listening to music and audio books. In her spare time Lynne enjoys travelling both at home and abroad.

Lynne says: “Volunteering is beneficial two-fold for me. Not only does it give me a purpose, but the chance to be a catalyst to change a person’s life with empowerment and education.

“I am a massive advocate for peer support in our community and the power it can bring to enrich a person’s life and future.”

Photo of Alison Huw, Lancashire SLC member. Alison is outside, surrounded by fields. She is wearing sunglasses, holding the camera, smiling.

Alison David

Alison David is from a small village outside of Burnley, in east Lancashire.

Alison worked as a full-time special needs teacher and has almost 30 years of experience. Throughout her career she supported and worked alongside many students with vision impairments. Alison currently works in a school as a teaching assistant and volunteers with her local cub scouts and a local hospice fundraising group. Alison and her husband are both scuba divers and worked in Gozo, Malta, as PADI instructors for a number of years.

Alison lost the central vision in her left eye when she was 25, and in August 2022, experienced a retinal tear in her right eye. When the silicone oil was removed, she discovered she’d lost the central vision in this eye too.

Alison says: “This has had a significant impact in my daily life, primarily meaning the loss of my independence with driving a car. I find huge differences with reading and accessing computers without significant magnification is extremely difficult.

“I am very much at the beginning of my sight loss journey and I hope that my recent experiences will help me as part of Lancashire Sight Loss Council.”

Photo of Karen sitting on a wooden chair in the sun. She is wearing sunglasses and a summer top, smiling at the camera.

Karen Kempson

Karen lives in Lancashire and has been living with undiagnosed sight loss all her life. Recently, at the age of 58, she has been diagnosed with Cerebral Visual Impairment and is now registered as partially sighted. Cerebral Visual Impairment is where the visual information sent to the brain is impaired. Even though her visual acuity can be good, the signals are distorted which results in blind spots and blurring.

In the last 15 years Karen’s role was informal carer of both her partner and her mother.

Karen’s interests include gardening, dog walks and anything to do with nature – she particularly likes windy weather.

Karen says “I am looking forward to working with Lancashire Sight Loss Council. I am eager to get out and about and raise the profile of sight loss.”

Salman Patel

Coming soon!

Dawn Hewitson

Coming soon!

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